IDB Credentials

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Inter-american Development Bank logo.svg

IDB has a strong reputation as a provider of learning opportunities in the field of social and economic development. IDB is expanding its portfolio of online learning opportunities through instructor-led courses, a suite of Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs).

Open Badges are an industry-standard form of digital credential and IDB plans to issue badges that can be 'stacked' together by learners to improve the penetration and visibility of its work. These digital credentials provide the opportunity to design programs that makes use of stackable badges issued via various courses within an overall IDB framework.

This framework allows IDB to partner with other institutions, creating flexible and recognized learning pathways which can translate into credits for further professional development. It also places IDB as a pioneer in LAC by adopting innovative credentialing systems, pushing the region to embrace less traditional approaches to learning. These approaches are meaningful in a world where lifelong learning is key and the job market is in constant flux.

IDB can serve as an agent for modernization in the cross-sector realm of labor markets, education and technology-based innovation, through the use and promotion of alternative credentials. Such an approach stimulates and supports the adoption of standards, practices and policies that serve as pillars of the digital economy.

Getting up to speed with Digital Credentials

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What are badges?

The Open Badges Infrastucture is an online standard to recognize and verify learning. It was incubated by Mozilla, the global non-profit best known for the Firefox web browser, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation. It is now stewarded by IMS Global Learning Consortium. Open Badges are information-rich, containing built-in data that links back to the issuer, criteria and verifying evidence.

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Why badges?

Traditional certificates can be issued for anything. A four year-old may earn a certificate for colouring in a picture while waiting for a meal at a restaurant chain. Equally, someone may spend years researching and working at a very high level in order to earn a Ph.D. - which also comes with a certificate. Whether it’s displayed temporarily on the refrigerator or permanently in an expensive frame, what certificates have in common is that they have an audience.

Just like certificates, Open Badges can be used to credential different levels of knowledge, skills, and behaviours. Just as we’d issue a certificate in both a low-stakes situation and a high-stakes situation (but recognise that there’s a difference between the two) so we can issue badges in both situations. One advantage of using an Open Badge instead of or as well as a certificate is that badges have a built-in ‘breadcrumb trail’ of evidence. The audience can then immediately follow this trail if they have doubts about authenticity or rigour. This isn’t always immediately obvious or available with traditional paper certificates.

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How do I get started with badges?

The Open Badges Infrastructure is a decentralised, federated system. This can be a difficult concept to get your head around when you first start thinking about Open Badges.

Perhaps the easiest analogy is to think of the way that email works. When you send an email, it doesn’t matter what your email address is, who your provider is, and where in the world you are; it just works. Your message is bounced around various servers and, because they’re all using the same protocol, your message eventually reaches your intended recipient.

Similarly, with Open Badges, it doesn’t matter who issued the badge. You can choose where you want to store it, so long as the provider adheres to the specification originally laid out by Mozilla, and now maintained/developed by the IMS Global Learning Consortium.

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What is IDB's role within the digital credentials ecosystem?

There are several roles that IDB can play within the digital credentials ecosystem. The most obvious of these is as a badge issuer. IDB may also act an endorser of badges. Alternatively, IDB may act as an enabler to allow digital credentials to flourish within the LAC region.

  • Issuer - IDB staff create the graphics, metadata, and quality assurance process required to issue digital credentials via IDB's chosen badge platform.
  • Endorser - IDB endorses either specific badges issued to individuals (the 'badge assertion'), or an entire type of badge (the 'badge class'). This involves reviewing and approving the quality assurance process of badge issuers.
  • Enabler - IDB works with organisations to define digital credentials through collaborative, participator sessions.. This may consist of individual badges or badge pathways.

An example of the types of collaborative session that would place IDB in an enabling role can be found in the outputs from the IDB Credentials Workshop Outputs

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Where can I find good examples of badge projects?

Since 2011, there have been thousands of projects that have either been focused on, or have included, Open Badges. Some of these projects have been documented better than others. Until recently, there was no single place to collate these examples.

Badge Wiki, which hosts the IDB Digital Credentials Hub, provides a space to allow the community to share projects which will expand over time.

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How can I connect to the wider badges ecosystem?

Badge News is a monthly newsletter for the Open Badges and digital credentials community. Hitting inboxes on the last Friday of each month, Badge News provides information about recent developments and upcoming events.

The Open Badges Google Group was set up by the Mozilla Foundation and is now maintained by the IMS Global Learning Consortium. Anyone is welcome to join and post to the group, and the archives provide a useful store of answered questions.

Twitter is also a useful place to get follow some of the latest news, with the hashtags #openbadges], #digitalbadges, and #microcredentials being useful starting places.

Project Blueprint


If you’re interested in incorporating digital microcredentials into your current practice, then here are some of the considerations to developing a successful project.

The Credential Project Blueprint is a collection of thoughts and concepts emerging from a workshop of surgery sessions facilitated by We Are Open Co-op for badging projects made possible by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Digital and Alternative Credentials Workshop

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In February 2018, IDB invited We Are Open Co-op to facilitate a two-day workshop with. IDB were keen to take an open approach with engaging with their own staff on the practical use of digital credentials, so as a result, the materials produced for the workshop, together with output samples have been collated and made available here, for use by both an internal and external audience.

Workshop Materials

The materials created for the workshop sessions are available for reuse:

Workshop Outputs

All the outputs from the workshop can also be reviewed, in order to inspire and design future credential ideation activity.

How to share your project with the world

Add your project to the Badge Examples page!